Families who have experienced the death of a child or pregnancy loss at IWK are offered IWK bereavement follow-up services. IWK bereavement care professionals are available to grieving families over the course of a year.
How we help
IWK Bereavement Support offers help in a number of ways:
- Conversations about the family’s grief experience and how family members are managing.
- Information about community grief resources available, including grief support groups, grief counsellors, pamphlets and books, web resources, and summer camps for grieving children.
- Our annual mail-out is sent to grieving families in November with information on how to manage holidays and seasons of celebration.
Families may decline IWK bereavement services at any time. For more information, contact the IWK Bereavement Coordinator at 902.470.8942.
It’s been said that the death of a child is the most devastating loss that one can experience. When a child dies, it changes your world as you are thrown into personal chaos. It can be hard to relate to others as you move through this time, and normal tasks and routines can seem overwhelming. Everyone experiences their grief differently, and acknowledging that there is no script for healing can help alleviate some of the pressure people feel in the early stages of their grief. Healing takes place best in a supportive community. Bereaved parents are encouraged to reach out for support that offers empathy, compassion, and fellowship. For more information on parental grief support resources and service in your community, please contact the IWK Bereavement Coordinator at 902.470.8942.
Child and teen grief
As parents or caregivers, there’s a natural tendency to want to find solutions for children’s pain or to protect them from it altogether. However, when a death happens in a family you cannot fix it. When a child asks questions about the death, you may naturally tend to begin talking and stop listening, in an attempt to protect them from the pain. However, the most important thing you can do to help your child or teen in their grief is to listen to them and encourage them to talk about what has happened. You cannot undo the death or to take away the pain, but what you can do is let them know that you know they are grieving and honour their grief by allowing them to have it. Children and teen's grief often differs from adult grief. Children’s expression of grief differs depending on age and developmental stage. It’s important to acknowledge this when a death has occurred so children and teens are properly supported in their grief. Bereavement services at the IWK Health Centre include resources for both teens and children. For more information on child and teen grief support resources and services in your community, please contact the IWK Bereavement Coordinator at 902.470.8942.